As we head into the New Year, I thought it was an opportunity to reflect on our year at onthewards for my final blog of 2015. We still remain a developing #FOAMed resource that aims to bridge the gap between the transition from medical school to internship but one that in only 18 months has produced over 70 podcasts, 60 blogs and interviewed over 40 specialists and registrars. The clinical topics reflect the broad and varied knowledge required of junior doctors. There are still so many areas that we haven’t covered yet and plan to deliver in 2016.
Our blogs have been our most popular content this year. From internship tips (one day I will get to writing my “Tip 4” for surviving internship), becoming involved in research, CV inflation, burnout, death certification, learning from patients, the pressure of perfection, and aiming for work-life balance. We have many more blogs lined up for you in 2016.
When we first started onthewards in 2014, I remember reading Mike Cadogan’s 5 lessons learned on LITFL and made a mental note of lesson 2 – the “cost of free is immense”. I have come to experience this firsthand as well as the realisation that our lack of funds to maintain and improve onthewards is our greatest hurdle. So, I want to thank everyone that has contributed financially this year and also invite our followers that haven’t to please consider a donation. What you give will help us to continue to provide you with high-quality #FOAMed that is accessible anytime and anyplace both through the website and the app.
All funds raised go back to onthewards, which is now a registered not for profit organisation. There are so many things that we want to do to make the website and app more user friendly. Some of which have become even more critical as the volume of content has increased. I’d like to invite you to email or leave your comments or feedback which will help improve your experience and accessibility when using the website and app.
A further challenge, moving from a second year into a third year is to marry the enthusiasm, passion and sense of purpose that led to the birth of the website with the ongoing production of regular content. We want to fulfill our followers’ expectation of a high-quality podcast and blog each week. Yet I have learnt that even though passion, a strong community of practice and an empowering culture can be an incredibly inspiring thing, “be(ing) wise about what you are building and understand(ing) your limitations” is vital – LITFL’s Lesson 2. Maintaining your passion and balancing your paid work and family commitments can be tricky Lesson 1 – Family comes first.
To sustain the enthusiasm we will continue to invigorate the team with new junior doctors that are keen and passionate. In 2015, we did this with our core team growing from 4 to 10 with over 30 junior doctors contributing to the website. A number of soon to be interns have also signaled their desire to contribute next year.
The origins of onthewards began at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) and many of the team and clinicians interviewed are based there but what we produce is aimed at junior doctors everywhere, whether you are based in Sydney or Perth, a tertiary or district hospital or in a remote or rural area. To make our content relevant irrespective of the hospital or term that you are working in, our onthewards team needs to be representative of our followers.
We have already started with contributions this year from junior doctors at Royal North Shore, Prince of Wales, Monash and Fiona Stanley Hospitals and this will remain a focus for 2016. We are always looking for new team members: consultants, supervisors, registrars, nurses, allied health staff and junior doctors. We can’t offer you a wage, but what we can offer is the enjoyment of being part of a collaborative and committed team that produces valuable medical education resources for junior doctors. It is also an opportunity to develop your writing, editing skills and your profile in medical education.
Anecdotally, onthewards is becoming a commonly referenced #MedEd resource for junior doctors working on the wards and increasingly senior medical students across the country. If any knowledge gained from onthewards is translated into improving the care of one patient, the website has served a purpose and will keep the team coming back in 2016. We hope to not only develop further content but also curate resources such as we did for those undertaking their Pre-internship term. Intern orientation in 2016 is next on the calendar, so don’t forget to subscribe and receive regular updates on newly-released content.
What keeps me going is the enjoyment of working in a great collaborative team and the satisfaction of knowing that our supporters and followers gain educational value from what we produce.
I would like to thank our original team members, Elie Matar and Abhi Pal for their continued blog and editorial support skills. They have produced some interesting, thought-provoking and well-written articles. Elie and Abhi will be busy studying for their upcoming BPT exams but we look forward to seeing them back and contributing onthewards soon. Duncan Campbell and Jenny Liu are just a couple of our next generation of bloggers and I am excited to see what they will have in store for us after some excellent posts this year.
Paul Hamor and Laura Glenn stepped in this year to interview some of our speakers. I am sure that everyone appreciated the change of interviewers! I would also like to acknowledge the clinicians we interviewed who kindly gave up their time. The podcasts and written summaries were all supported by a number of junior doctors and I would like to thank them for their valuable contribution.
We have been lucky enough to have some excellent in-house technical support. Tom Finn (and John Delaney) created our onthewards podcast theme and sorted out podcast audio issues within a timeframe of yesterday, even when overseas.
Special note of thanks to Anthony Llewellyn as we would not have been able to do any of this without his web design and IT skills. Anthony hasn’t only created and continued to develop the website but also dedicated an immense amount of time developing the app and actively engaging Social Media to get us noticed. He has also worked very hard behind the scene fixing every glitch and issue.
I would also like to thank the RPAH executive for allowing us to record all our podcasts in the hospital’s AV studios. Anthony Anderson has also been an incredible asset to the team, recording and editing the podcasts.
Finally, Evangelie Polyzos continues to do the impossible and keep us all on track. She is the glue that holds our team together. It is not an easy task to manage and ensure that a whole bunch of busy clinicians work together to produce a podcast and blog a week. Her belief in #FOAMed for junior doctors, the people behind it and that what we produce is of value to a large number of followers has allowed us to prosper.
The team will be having a short break over the New Year with the first blog to be published on 10th January 2016. Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and enjoy the time you have off over the holiday period.